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Bill Nelson

June 13, 1924 - December 24, 2011


9-10:00 A.M. Thursday, December 29 at Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.

Funeral Service:

Memorial Service: 10:00 A.M. Thursday, December 29 at Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.


Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.

Bill Nelson

June 13, 1924 - December 24, 2011


Bill passed away on Saturday, December 24th at Bethany Retirement Living.

Billy (Bill) D. Nelson was born June 13th, 1924 in Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Central High School in Sioux City in 1942. He served the United States Army in the Pacific Theater from March 1943 until March of 1946 while achieving the title of Sergeant. He married Grayce Dougherty in 1947 in Sioux City, Iowa; they had eight children.

He worked for the Burroughs Corporation as a salesman and branch manager selling computers and data processing equipment in South Dakota, Iowa and North Dakota. He sold the first large computer systems to the area banking and insurance industries and to the State of North Dakota. While branch manager in Fargo he attained the “Legion of Honor” several times qualifying him for attendance at many of the early Super Bowl games. Bill had a knack for hiring good quality people and always acknowledged his success was because of the people he worked with. They continued to be lifelong friends while in retirement.

Bill’s other passion was golf. He loved the competition with the small skin side games and even had a couple of “hole in ones.” He served as president of the Moorhead Country Club and was a member of the Fargo Country Club. He and Grayce had many close friends from both clubs.

He is survived by daughters, Kim (Jay) Eisenbeis, Fargo, Abby (Tony) Rheault, Boise, Idaho, and sons, Pat Nelson, Richville, MN, and Peter Nelson (Dr. Ellen Dona), Minneapolis, daughter-in-law, Debra Nelson, as well as eighteen grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ferdinand and Esther, his wife, Grayce, daughters, Beth Skagen, Mary Nelson, Maggy Brace, son, Michael Nelson and brother, Ralph.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to Presentation Center, Fargo, North Dakota.

Bill’s burial will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


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0 responses to “Bill Nelson”

  1. Gary Fischer says:

    Onalaska WIAbby,

    I am very sorry to hear of your dad’s death. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Gary Fischer

  2. Cathy Schwinden says:

    Fargo ND
    I was so sorry to learn of the death of your father. It has been a hard Christmas for us, too, but you have been in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Joyce Linnerud Fowler says:

    I had the absolute pleasure getting to know Bill during his time at Bethany Towers. I very much enjoyed our conversations and his outlook on his life at Bethany. He will be missed. God Bless, Joyce

  4. Jim Herk says:

    Mill Valley CADecember 27, 2011


    Thank you for your email this past Saturday. I was so sorry to hear Bill had passed away.

    Bill was such a big part of my life for several years at Burroughs Corporation. He was a delight to be around. Always full of enthusiasm and excitement and kept all of us up when things may not have been going very well.

    There were a few times when Bill used “other means” of motivating his salesmen and managers. I recall a particular trip Bill made to Bismarck when things were not going well under my management. In anticipation of his stay at the Bismarck Holiday Inn, I attempted to “soften him up” with a bottle of his favorite whiskey waiting for him in his room. When I arrived, it had not produced the result for which I had hoped.

    Bill opened with the comment, “Things aren’t looking very good out here in western North Dakota
    . In fact, as soon as I got to Jamestown, it started to cloud over and when I got to Bismarck there was a heavy dark cloud hanging over the place. You need some business and you need to get this fixed”.

    I assured Bill that we would get it fixed. Luckily we had some good salesmen like Dave Solberg, Gene Barnaby, Jerry Renner and Gary Fonkert who eventually pulled me out of the fire.

    Bill liked to pit the eastern North Dakota
    sales team against the western North Dakota
    sales team to create some competition. On one particular competition, my team in the west was leading the east by a slight margin. However, on our drive in to Fargo for the meeting, the Fargo team was out selling and they beat us by a few dollars. I, of course, felt it was not fair as the east had more selling time while we were driving. Bill would not hear of it, so the west dined on hamburgers while we watched the east dine on steak.

    Without a doubt, Bill was one of the most fun guys to be around I have ever known. He was most always light hearted, delightful and full of fun. He was truly one of a kind, a salesman’s salesman. I will miss Bill and our visits on my summer trips to Fargo.

    Following our time of mourning over the loss of your father and our dear friend, I am confident we will have fond and long-lasting memories of Bill and the great person that he was.

    Please express my sympathies to Abby, Pat and Peter as well.

    Jim Herk

  5. Annie Thorseth-Sutton says:

    Boise IdahoGramps was a boisterous man with a big huge heart. He was one of those grandpas with story after story – and I always looked forward to our visits.

    I feel truly blessed that I was able to spend as much time with him as I did growing up, and I am comforted by the fact that he is surrounded by some of his dearest loved ones.

  6. Emily DuBord Hill says:

    De Pere WITo the Family of Bill Nelson,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time of loss.
    Emily DuBord Hill

  7. jane DuBord-Hill says:

    West Fargo ND
    We are sorry for the loss of your Father, Grandfather and great Grandfather. Our prayers are with you during this time of sorrow. We regret not being able to join you in the celebration of Bill’s life. God bless all of you, sincerely Stephen and Jane DuBord-Hill

  8. Dave Herstad says:

    Burnsville Minnesota
    I had the pleasure of working for Bill for 8 of the 10 years I spent in Fargo. He was a good friend and a great mentor. I spent many evenings with Bill and Grace at their home in south Fargo.

    Our thoughts and our prayers are with Kim (our babysitter), Pat, Abby and Peter “Peaches”.

    Marlys and I stopped a couple of times on winter trips and saw them when they were living in Florida.

    He will be missed.

  9. Terry, Judy and Nicholas Thorstensen says:

    To our dear old friends, Kim, Pat, Abby and Peter, our deepest sympathy on the lose of your father. Our prayers are with you and your families that God will comfort you all. St Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Mr. Nelson was a very good man, I have very fond memories of him.

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